Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bright Eyed And Bushy Tailed Over This Great Vintage Steiff Squirrel

Steiffgal's dreaming of a Steiffy Christmas... for all of her blog's beloved readers!  Hopefully Santa and/or loved ones brought you a few new - or vintage - Steiff items for your collection this holiday season.  As you might know, Steiffgal has a thing for Steiff items produced in the early 1940's through early 1950's time frame, as these treasures often have unusual or mysterious combinations of IDs and designs... so she couldn't be more pleased with one item in particular the big guy in red brought to her this holiday season!  Take a look at this super-duper Steiff squirrel and see what makes her so interesting from the collector and historical perspectives.

It's easy to go nuts over this very early postwar Steiff squirrel.  She is 20 cm tall, unjointed, and in the "begging" position.  Her belly and front are made from white mohair, while her back, face, and limbs are made from short red-brown mohair.  Her tail and her pert ears are made from longer red-brown mohair.  Squirrel's face is detailed with large black glass eyes, clear mono-filament whiskers, and a simple, black hand embroidered nose and mouth.  She has black hand embroidered claws on her hands and feet.  And, you can't help but notice her tan velvet acorn, which is stitched to her in three places - on each of her front paws and also her mouth area.  This squirrel was produced in red-brown and white, as well as grey and white, in 20 cm from 1949 through 1956.

There are three things that make Steiffgal so bright eyed and bushy-tailed over this vintage squirrel.  

The first is her button.  This forest friend has the most unusual "block letter" style button, meaning that the word "Steiff" appears in all capital letters on the Steiff button.  This button was only used on items from around 1947 through 1952, and is extremely rare.  As a matter of fact, Steiffgal only has three or four items with this button amongst her collection of 800+ vintage items.  A close up of the squirrel's "block letter" button is shown here on the left.
The second is her production time frame.  This item is identical in design and proportion to one Steiff produced from 1934 through 1942.  The prewar version, like the post war version, was made either in red-brown and white mohair, or grey and white mohair.  Both color options held a velvet nut... a close up of this is shown here on the left.  The pre-war model was also produced in 25 cm.  It is entirely possible that that Steiffgal's new vintage friend was produced in the early 1940's, stored in inventory through the war, and then buttoned and distributed post war. This design, regardless of exact production date, clearly bridges both pre- and postwar manufacturing.

The third is her labeling - or lack of it.  Most early post war items have a distinctive white linen "US Zone" tag sewn into a prominent body or limb seam; this is usually seen in items sold between 1947 and 1953.  An example of this tag is shown here on the left. This squirrel does not have this, or any indication that she ever did.  Steiffgal has noticed that the very earliest items distributed by the company post war did not have this tag - perhaps because Steiff was anxious to begin selling before this regulation came into strict enforcement.   Most of these "label deficit" items have Steiff's early post war blank (5 mm, nickle, used from 1948 through 1950) or "block letter" style buttons.  

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this early postwar squirrel has been an informative and great tail indeed.

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, family or otherwise? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.
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